Saturday, April 02, 2016

April is Poetry Month / Book Review of “What is not Missing is Light”

By Dwight Hunter

April 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month! Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. Be sure to check out the library’s poetry book display.

Twice a year, the Meacham Writers’ Workshop holds conferences in Chattanooga, and one of the meeting spots is on the Chattanooga State campus. Last fall, a UTC graduate read her prose poetry at the Meacham at Chatt State. Her name is Bridgette Bates and she grew up in Nashville, went to UTC for her undergraduate degree, went to University of Iowa after that and is a published author.  Her latest book, What is not Missing is Light, can be checked out from the library.

What is not Missing is Light, winner of the Black Box Poetry Prize, is a series of untitled prose poems. Thankfully, the reader can find a prose title in the table of contents, but a title won’t be found anywhere else in the book. The prose poetry is combination of life, traveling, art, and mostly, ruins from monuments. Bates does not celebrate the ruins but in mournful aphoristic tone of what destruction man has given to the world. This is a wonderful poetry book that really stretches your imagination into things not seen. The prose poetry mixes a maternal view of the ruins and the travels to get there. One particular line of prose really resonated: "Like all mothers there must have been a night when she stayed awake to monitor her child's fever. Did she sing him to sleep? Did she stand before a faucet of running water to hide her tears? Did she resent when he recovered and let that moment of unconditional love pass unnoticed? 

My recommendation: Highly recommended to read and to learn.

Bates was interviewed for the Meacham Conversations in 2015 by her former UTC professor, Richard Jackson.


Listen to a poem read by Anna Journey – The Accidental Blues Voice and celebrate National Poetry Month!

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